Here's how "24" ended:
- Jack Bauer and the treacherous Christopher Henderson take out the terrorists who had captured a Russian missile sub (moored conveniently in Los Angeles harbor), from which the terrorists were planning to shoot missiles at major American cities. (San Francisco, presumably wasn't a target because it's not a major American city.)
- Henderson volunteers to shut down the missle launch sequence (doesn't that phrase ring authoritatively?), in exchange for immunity (stupid, stupid), but demands that Jack give him a gun because he doesn't trust Jack. Jack agrees to the immunity (talk is free) and gives Henderson a gun. Henderson starts shutting down the missile launch sequence (wow!) -- and it's up to him because the Navy can't launch (there's that word, again) an attack on the sub before the missiles launch (and again).
- Henderson shuts down the missile launch sequence (I love it!) and tries to bushwack Jack, but (click) Henderson's gun isn't loaded. Jack shoots him -- dead -- because Henderson had accepted an unloaded gun from Jack. (First mistake Henderson makes all day, but it's a doozy.)
- Next, Jack has to get the reptilian President Logan to confess his involvement in the whole megillah. How can Jack do that? By taking command of the presidential helicopter (see below) and by making Logan believe that he (Jack) is going to shoot him (Logan) if he (Logan) doesn't confess. Jack almost pulls the trigger, then relents. Logan thinks he (Logan) is off the hook. But the real plan is for Logan to carry a micro-transmitter that Jack has cunningly placed into a Mont Blanc ballpoint pen that's a replica of the one Logan usually carries. (Jack, of course, manages to switch pens during the aforementioned confrontation.) Now, how is Jack going to get Logan to speak into the Mont Blanc pen?
- That's where Mrs. (Ms. ?) Logan comes in (so to speak). Earlier she had tricked Pres. Reptile into believing that she still had the hots for him. Her real purpose being to delay the helicopter flight long enough for Jack to trick his way into commandeering it. (She succeeds because, Pres. Reptile is -- after only -- only human.) After Jack pulls the pen switch and releases Pres. Reptile, Ms. L. confronts him (Pres. Reptile) and gets him to talk into the gimmicked up pen.
- Chloe O'Brien, of course, records Pres. R's confession, and plays it for the attorney general. The AG then tells federal marshals to arrest Pres. R. The presidential Secret Service detail goes along with this. Call it professional courtesy.
- Jack is ready to fade into the sunset -- after a smooch or two with Audrey -- but he's tricked into answering a phone call from his estranged daughter, Kim, who had gone off in a huff several hours earlier because Jack had failed to tell her that he was really alive. (See, when this season began, Jack was pretending to be dead because the Chinese were after him for something he had done last season. And everyone in the world, except Kim, knew that Jack was alive -- and she was so angry that Jack hadn't clued her in that she quit speaking to him. That'll teach him to play dead.)
- Anyway, there isn't a phone call from Kim -- just a bunch of Chinese persons (hah, you thought I was going to say "Chinks") who jumped on Jack, beat him to a bloody pulp, and put him on . . . a slow boat to China.
- End of season. (Of course I left out a lot, including the re-appearance of Morris O'Brien, Chloe's ex-husband, who in fact had never before appeared in the series, and who was in such putative disgrace that he had gone from being a member of CTU to selling shoes in Beverly Hills. It looks like he and Chloe may get back together. Perhaps there will be more O'Briens next season. I also left out the mysterious, bald geek who spent a lot of time on phone with Pres. R during the last several hours of the series. What's with him? No one knows, perhaps all will be revealed next season.)
Here's how it should have ended:
- Jack saves time by shooting Henderson at the outset. He is then able to call in an air strike to blow up the sub -- terrorists, missiles, and all -- before the missiles are launched.
- Jack shoots Pres. R, after getting him to divulge the name, location, and function of the bald geek.
- Jack shoots the bald geek and the other weirdos who have been hanging out with him (the bald geek).
- Jack shoots Audrey because she should be dead anyway, having lost 15 million pints of blood after Henderson had cut one of her arteries several hours earlier.
- Jack shoots everyone else, including the Chinese persons who try to kidnap him. No witnesses, no laundry.
- Jack commandeers the Chinese persons' boat, and he and Ms. Logan sail off . . . on a slow boat to Tahiti.